Equities Update: With Citi's Help, Scratching Out Gains

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Includes: C, DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Midnight Trader

4:08 PM, Apr 19, 2010 --

  • NYSE up 11 (0.2%) to 7,595.83.
  • DJIA up 74 (0.7%) to 11,093.
  • S&P 500 up 5.4 (0.5%) to 1,198.
  • Nasdaq down 1.7 (0.1%) to 2,480.


GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng down 2.1%
  • Nikkei down 1.74%
  • FTSE down 0.28%


UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CRXL gets upgrade.

(+) S gets upgrade.

(+) YMI gains on positive pre-clinical data.

(+) SSN jumped on well update.

(+) SNSS says cancer trial data accepted for presentation at conference.

(+) TASR reports order.

(+) LLY beat with earnings.

(+) HAS beat with earnings, adds to buyback.

(+) C easily beats with earnings.

(+) HAL beats with results.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-,+) GS recovered after early decline followed SEC charges; gained initially this morning.

(-) BAC down as Citi cuts price target on shares.

(-) AAPL gets downgrade.

(-) DAL gets downgrade.

(-) SFY gets downgrade.

(-) HGSI says Novartis withdraws marketing application in Europe for Hep C treatment.

MARKET DIRECTION

A late-day recovery for most financial issues helped broad indexes like the DJIA and S&P 500 cross back into positive territory late, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite remained marginally lower as the final bell rang.

Stocks chopped in both directions earlier in the session, as investors searched for direction, with Goldman Sachs' (NYSE:GS) fraud suit and the Icelandic volcano competing for attention with Citigroup's (NYSE:C) upbeat earnings and a surprise jump in the leading economic indicators.

The Conference Board's leading economic indicators rose by the fastest pace in at least seven months, sending the gauge of future activity up by 1.4% in March. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected the index to grow 0.9%. Seven of the 10 indicators increased in March, and the index's uptick suggests economic growth is likely to continue in the next three to six months.

Goldman aftershocks rumbled through Asian markets, which tumbled in their first trading since the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against the bank. A new round of measures by China to curb speculative real estate investing also curbed investor enthusiasm overseas.

China said over the weekend it would take more steps to level off real estate prices, which have been rising sharply for months. The government is concerned about speculative bubbles forming and bursting as its economy continues to grow rapidly.

Financial stocks face steady pressure this week as Congress considers a bill to overhaul regulating the financial sector. Goldman reports first-quarter results Tuesday.

Counterbalancing some of the Goldman fallout is a continuing flow of earnings reports, highlighted today by Citigroup's better-than-expected profit. Citi attributed the gain to its investing banking operations and a slight decline in loan losses. Citigroup shares jumped 4.82% in mid-day trading.

Among bellwether companies reporting this week are International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).